Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation

The Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation scores pharmaceutical companies’ behaviour regarding Covid-19 in a GCCP Scorecard. Conclusion: Big differences in adherence to human rights principles

Bergeijk, 22 January 2021 – Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation  (PAF) publishes a GCCP scorecard of pharmaceutical companies that develop important vaccines and pharmaceuticals for the Corona pandemic.

Despite their almost unanimous endorsement of human rights principles that ensure fair, global access to vaccines and pharmaceuticals, in reality, companies’ behaviour does not reflect such principles”, says Wilbert Bannenberg, chairperson of PAF.  “Their policy to ensure that people get actual access to their Covid-19 products leaves a lot to be desired.’’ 

The Pharmaceutical Accountability Foundation formulated 18 ‘Good Covid-19 Company Practices’ (GCCP ). Practices that adhere to these principles should result in faster and more equitable global distribution of Covid-19 vaccines and pharmaceuticals during the pandemic. PAF monitored the companies’  behaviour and gave the companies a score on each criterium it has formulated. These scores can be found in the GCCP scorecard.

Pharmaceutical companies have a special responsibility to contribute to the realisation of human rights and access to medicines for all. Tools like the ‘Good Covid-19 Company Practices’ emphasise crucial steps for companies to deliver on their responsibilities.

‘’Contrary to some companies’ willingness to relinquish some profits on their Covid-19 products, all seven companies seem to hold on tightly to their intellectual property rights. This limits the global production capacity and prolongs the duration of the pandemic unnecessarily’’, says lawyer Tessa Jolan Jager, coordinator of the study.

The GCCP scorecard published today score vaccine- and pharmaceutical manufacturers’ behaviour on human rights principles.  Some key findings:

  • Five out of seven manufacturers publicly endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
  • All seven companies published the results of their clinical trials. 
  • The seven companies are however less transparent on the development costs, the costs of production and the profit margins of their Covid-19 products.
  • Only a few companies are willing to sell their Covid-19 vaccines or pharmaceuticals at a not-for-profit price.
  • Only one company pledged to not enforce its patent rights for their Covid-19 product.
  • Despite that all seven companies published their (limited) production capacity, they are reluctant to create access to licenses, knowledge and technology to manufacturers in low- and middle-income countries. These decisions prolong the global shortage of Covid-19 medicines. Also, none of the companies published a clear plan to redress the unequal distribution of Covid-19 products. 
  • No company has shared its knowledge, skills and intellectual property with the Covid-19 Technology Access Pool (C-TAP) yet. The Pool was specially established in May 2020 by the World Health Organization for this purpose.

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